Democratic Underground  

Codifying Those Commandments
September 5, 2003
By Kerry Tomasi

If the recent flap over the granite monument in Alabama reveals anything, it's that a vast majority of US citizens - anywhere from 70-80% in recent polls - support having the Ten Commandments prominently displayed in government buildings. The message 'we the people' appear to be sending is this: the "Ten Commandments" is the rock on which our constitutional form of government was founded, and must be acknowledged and honored as such.

In light of this outpouring of support, and the level of fervor expressed, we have to presume that the next step for our elected officials is to incorporate all of these commandments into our civil laws, and enforce them properly.

Let's take a look at the "Ten" (Exod.20:1-17) and see how this might be accomplished.

We can also consult the Bible to determine what punishments would be warranted for violations. After all, who better than God Himself to guide us in these matters.

1. "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me"

Since this specifically refers to Yahweh, the Hebrew deity, we'll need to do a little tinkering with the First Amendment to enforce this, like getting rid of that entire "freedom of religion" concept. Punishment for offenders? We can ascertain what God would want in Deut.13:6-10 and 17:2-6. Punishment would have to be death.

2. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven..., in earth..., or in water: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me"

This one's a little more complicated. It appears that all art, sculpture, even photography may have to cease. A lot of details to be worked out here. I'm not even sure if replicas of the Commandments would be legal. Might have to use audio.

As for the latter part - punish the children up to the fourth generation - records will need to be kept. (This principle worked quite well in the Middle Ages and during the Inquisitions, whereby suspected "heretics" were tried and convicted long after their death, enabling the Church/government to seize land and property from their descendants.)

3. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain"

A council - something like a modern "ecclesiastic tribunal"- could be established to determine what actions would be deemed blasphemous under this law. Fraudulent faith healing, political religious pandering, and all the self-serving repetitive "Thank the Lord" blather going on in sports these days could be precisely the type of things God had in mind. Any perceived blasphemy or cursing the name of the Lord would be punished by death. See Lev.24:13-16.

4. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. it thou shalt not do any work"

Self-explanatory. Do not mow your lawn, mend the fence, vacuum the house, or do the dishes on the Sabbath. We will need to clarify which day it actually is. The Bible says it's Saturday, but Christians observe Sunday. We could utilize the "Ecclesiastic Tribunal" to settle this issue before we begin enforcement. Violations - death. See Exod.31:14-15.

5. "Honour thy father and thy mother"

Clear enough. Punishment for violations - death. See Deut.21:18-21

6. "Thou shalt not kill."

This appears to be pretty straightforward, but if we look at the context in which this command was issued, we may want to clarify it somewhat before we write the statute. While under this law Moses, Joshua and the rest of the "chosen" killed millions of men, women, children and infants - nearly everyone they came in contact with (Num.31:7-18; Deut.2:34, 3:3-6, 20:13-17; Josh.6:21, 8:25-26, 10:28-41, 11:8-22; 1 Sam.15:3-8). So we must assume that a civil statute might more accurately read - "Thou shalt not kill, unless directed to by a religious leader who has spoken with God." The penalty for killing (except in the name of God) is... well... death. Lev.24:17

7. "Thou shalt not commit adultery"

It's important to understand what God is referring to here. According to Mark 10:11-12, Jesus clearly states that anyone who divorces and remarries, or marries a divorced person "committeth adultery".

Since the penalty for this crime in Lev.20:10-12 is death, enforcement of this law will obviously be rather detrimental to millions of families. But what choice have we? We can't just arbitrarily ignore such explicit biblical teachings.

8. "Thou shalt not steal"

Here's one for the liberals. According to Exod.22:4 restitution double the value of the theft is all that's required. No imprisonment, banishment, or stoning. At least we'll be able to free up a lot of jail space for those awaiting execution for other violations.

9. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour"

Simply put - no lying or engaging in deception. Interestingly enough, I can find no clear punishment for lying or bearing false witness in the Bible. In fact, a whole bunch of it goes on in there by some of the leading characters. Maybe that's why so much of it is going on among today's leading characters.

10. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, ...wife, ...manservant, ...maidservant, ...ox, ...ass, ...nor anything that is thy neighbours"

Again, the "Ecclesiastic Tribunal" could determine which thoughts or actions would be declared covetous under this law. Certainly all advertising trying to entice one to buy something or be like someone else will need to be banned. Improved lie detector technology would be extremely valuable in ferreting out lawbreakers.

The Bible's a little ambiguous about the punishment for covetousness, although in Josh.7:21-25, Achan - along with his sons, daughters, oxen, asses, sheep, and tent - were stoned and burned because he had "coveted" a garment, some gold and silver, and hid them. Also Mk.7:22 lists covetousness with adultery, murder, and blasphemy, so we should be able to come up with an appropriate punishment that would be in line here biblically.

In summary, once we get the Ten Commandment replicas (or audio version) posted throughout the land, integrate them into our civil laws with the corresponding penalties for violations, and rid ourselves - once and for all - of all this 'lawlessness', we should finally be able to get what's left of this country back on a strong biblical footing with objective moral values.

Just as the Founding Fathers envisioned!

After all, isn't that what freedom and liberty are all about?

Printer-friendly version
Tell a friend about this article Tell a friend about this article
Discuss this article
Democratic Underground Homepage